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Fish farmers make Sh2.7 million in six months

By Lydiah Nyawira

Fish farmers in Nyeri County have raked in Sh2.7 million in the past six months, data from the department of agriculture shows.

At least 2,220kg of fish was harvested in county dams, while another 4,562kg was harvested from pods owned by residents in the same period.

Governor Mutahi Kahiga (pictured) yesterday said the county government has started providing farmers with fingerlings to encourage them to continue fish farming. 

“We have restocked seven dams in Nyeri with 40,000 tilapia fingerlings,” Mr Kahiga said. “Some of the dams include Gakindu and Ithemuigi in Mukurwe-ini, Karii in Mathira West, Njeng’u in Kieni West and NGK in Kieni East.”

Agriculture Executive James Muchiri said his docket is targeting to restock all the 37 dams in the county in this financial year.

He noted that 245,000 fingerlings have been purchased for that initiative.

“We expect the fingerlings to mature and produce at least 85 tonnes of fish in the next six months. This could bring an income of Sh26 million," Mr Muchiri said.

The plan to restock dams has been mooted by the county government and the Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP).

ABDP is a donor-funded programme meant to increase fish consumption by encouraging youth, and women to engage in fish farming.

The programme is estimated to benefit at least 35,000 households, according to ABDP project coordinator Sammy Macharia

“The current demand for fish stands at 600,000 metric tonnes. Kenyan fish farmers are only producing 140,000 metric tonnes annually,” Mr Macharia noted.

He added that the demand for fish is driven by an aging population, with studies showing that as more people turn 40 years and above, they start to demand protein-rich diets such as fish.

 “We need to produce more fish to feed our people," he said. "More communities have embraced fish farming and consumption unlike two decades ago."  

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